Friday, 4 May 2007

Faiz - Shaam-e-Firaaq

Another one of my Faiz favourites, if only for the outstanding first and last shers! This Ghazal has been sung with breathtaking emotion by a whole bunch of singers.

shaam-e-firaaq ab naa puuchh, aayi aur aa ke Tal gayii
dil thaa ki phir bahal gayaa, jaa.n thii ki phir sambhal gayii

शाम-ए-फिराक अब ना पूछ, आई और आ के टल गई
दिल था कि फिर बहल गया , जां थी कि फिर संभल गई

"Ask no more (about) the night of separation; it came, and passed
The heart got diverted again; life found its feet again"

Wow! The translation does no justice to this glorious sher!

What a huge span of time and experience seems to be captured in the (otherwise simple) words of these two lines... there is a palpable sense of sadness with which Faiz takes note of the way life inevitably finds the means to go on - almost a sense of disappointment at the failure of that much lamented, much demonised, 'shaam-e-firaaq' to inflict a lasting blow!!

And yet, there is also this delicious sense of 'falseness' that rings through his brave claim of the heart managing to find other diversions... one can feel that life never does, actually, manage to shrug off the effects of the separation from the Beloved, and 'find its feet again'...

bazm-e-khayaal mei.n tere husn kii shamaa jal gayii
dard kaa chaand bujh gayaa hizr kii raat Dhal gayii

बज़्म-ए-ख़्याल मे तेरे हुस्न की शमा जल गई
दर्द का चांद बुझ गया हिज्र की रात ढल गई

"in the salon of (my) thoughts, the candle of your beauty was lighted
the moon-of-pain extinguished itself, the night of separation slipped away"

This is just poetic analogy, but a phrase like 'dard kaa chaand bujh gayaa' has the sort of beauty that defies translation.

'bazm-e-khayaal' is also tricky to capture the sense of... literally meaning a 'get-together/soiree of thought', it stands for that realm of the mind where the lover's thoughts and feelings come together and interact... and on this meeting-place within the mind, the Beloved's beauty casts a magical light, eclipsing the 'moon of pain' and creating the illusion that dawn has broken through after the night of separation... it is that illusion that the sher celebrates...

jab tujhe yaad kar liyaa subah mahak mahak uThii
jab teraa gham jagaa liyaa raat machal machal gayii

जब तुझे याद कर लिया सुबह महक महक उठी
जब तेरा गम जगा लिया रात मचल मचल गई

"whenever you were remembered, the mornings became fragrant
when your pain was awakened, the nights grew restless"

Simple, almost too simple; but it still manages to capture that something 'special' that can't be described. The dual-repetition of 'mahak' and 'machal' not only adds a magically lyrical touch, but also creates the impression of a state-of-affairs that repeats almost indefinitely!

dil se to har muaamlaa kar ke chale the saaf ham
kahne mei.n un ke saamne baat badal badal gayii

दिल से तो हर मुआमला करके चले थे साफ हम
कहने मे उनके सामने बात बदल बदल गई

"in the heart i had sorted out all the issues before setting out
(however) while recounting before her, (my) words changed themselves"

A cute one! The poet's inability to present his heart's pain to the Beloved is lamented so beautifully here - he explains that it isn't as though he hadn't figured out beforehand what he had to tell her, but when it actually came to telling her, he found that he had ended up saying something quite different than what he intended to...

one gets this wonderful picture of a smitten lover blundering ineffectually through an appeal to a haughtily impatient Beloved, and nervously ending up saying something else! 

aakhir-e-shab ke hamsafar Faiz na jaane kahaa.n gaye
rah gayii kis jagah sabaa, subah kidhar nikal gayii

आख़िर-ए-शब के हमसफ़र फैज़ ना जाने कहाँ गए
रह गई किस जगह सबा, सुबह किधर निकल गई

"who knows where the fellow-travellers of the end-of-the-night went, Faiz?
at which spot did the breeze get left behind? and which way did the dawn walk off?

the 'fellow-travellers' who had come together at that magical moment when night was ending, namely the morning-breeze and the flush-of-dawn, lost each other's company soon after... the breeze lingered on at some crossroad and was left behind; the dawn raced off towards the brightness of the day...

That's some poetry, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Can you please add the follow this blog feature so I can follow your new entries?

Anonymous said...

Also, a transliteration of the ashair would be nice because I cannot read Sanskrit script.

Anumeha said...


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is utterly superb..thanks for the illuminating commentary too.

Daytrader said...

Excellent description of a beautiful work.

Unknown said...

Excellent I just love this